All you need is one word.

wine bottles
Illustration by Joel Holland
| Credit: Illustration by Joel Holland

Recently, I've been going to a lot of fancy wine dinners. And I'm not mad about it. I like drinking wine. I like cheap wine and expensive wine and all the colors of wine. But I don't like talking about wine. Have you noticed how seriously people take wine? And there are so many wine words! 

At one event, I sat between two professional wine writers who used words like "tannins," "acidity," "oak," and "structure" to describe the New Zealand reds we were sipping. (Note: if you know these words and what they mean, your knowledge of wine is probably much more extensive than mine and you should probably just stop reading. If these words give you a hangover-like headache, stay with me.)

The thing that I've discovered is that you don't you don't really need all of these wine words. You really only need one—but it needs to be yours.

My ex-boyfriend's wine word is "poopy." It sounds ridiculous, but he could walk into a wine store and say, "I'm looking for a poopy wine" and they would know what he was talking about. And, maybe more important, it was a conversation starter, a way to break the ice and talk about wine in a way that's relatable, and, you know, a little bit funny. Because poop never really stops being funny, even if you are all grown up.

My wine word changes, but I like it to be a word not usually associated with wine. Right now it's "pretty." I might also add delicate or elegant, although those words feel a little stuffier to me, and I might mention that I'm really enjoying pinots lately, like Talbott Vineyard's Sleepy Hollow Pinot Noir, or really anything from Oregon's Willamette Valley. But usually I don't have to. Usually, the sommelier or my local wine shop guy knows what I mean. In case you're wondering, what I mean is that I want something that's a little fruity, but not jammy or heavy; I want something that's not going to knock me over if I drink two glasses—or three! And I want to sip it and not chug it. 

Previous wine words have been cheery (bright, acidic, easy drinking), weird (biodynamic maybe, or orange, or just slightly effervescent, something with a story), and barnyard (earthy, with a side of funk).

Ready to give it a try? Or maybe you already have a wine word. If you do, share with us in the comments!